Scuffles as police separate unaccompanied minors from other refugees at Calais Jungle camp

Scuffles broke out in the Jungle camp in Calais less than an hour after French authorities began a fresh round of processing refugees and migrants to be driven away.

Scuffles as police separate unaccompanied minors from other refugees at Calais Jungle camp

Update: 11.25am: Volunteers from Ireland who have been involved in assisting refugees in France originally through Irish Refugee Solidarity, have said the situation is calm at the moment, but people are afraid.

Mairead Healy, who is acting as a human rights observer during the French operation, said: "At the moment there is relative calm in the Jungle. But as you can imagine there is a high degree of uncertainty in the air. We are all waiting for the demolition but have no idea when this will actually commence.

"The camp is surrounded by intimidating riot police but daily life still goes on in camp, for those who don't want to get on the buses to an unknown destination. There is a distinct lack of information from the authorities. People are weary, afraid and largely in the dark."

Another volunteer in Calais, former All-Ireland and Tipperary hurler Timmy Hammersley said: "We are very concerned about the welfare of those in camp- in particular the children, who are unaccompanied.

These conditions in camp are unacceptable but equally, alternative options must respect the rights of all refugees."

Ms Healy is calling on the Irish Government to do more and to ensure that they fulfil their obligations to accept refugees, in particular unaccompanied minors.

She said: "We are calling on our Government to show leadership to other Governments in Europe and act speedily to ensure 200 extremely vulnerable unaccompanied children are placed in Ireland, without further delay, in enacting a Dubs style agreement.

"The longer that these children are not placed in secure and safe accommodation, the greater the risks to them both in terms of their safety but also their long term emotional and mental well-being."

Earlier: Scuffles broke out in the Jungle camp in Calais less than an hour after French authorities began a fresh round of processing refugees and migrants to be driven away.

Some 1,918 residents packed their bags and were taken by bus to 80 accommodation centres on the first day of the mass exodus, the French Interior Ministry said.

Another 400 unaccompanied minors had registered and were being housed in heated shelters at the camp.

The small spat is thought to have started as unaccompanied minors were being separated from the main queue and taken to the front.

Someone shouted into a loudspeaker: "Sit down, the door is closed. Stop pushing", while cries of "Help, please help" were heard as people started to panic.

Migrants and refugees believed to be minors could be seen crouching down by metal barriers while police formed a protective circle around them.

The gate to the processing centre was temporarily closed while the chaos continued.

Numbers were fewer than on Monday, when hundreds of camp residents with holdalls, rucksacks and wheeled bags queued up in the dark more than an hour before the registration centre opened.

Speaking on Monday evening, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said: "This is an operation we want to be peaceful and under control. So far it is."

On Tuesday, many were studying sheets of paper given to them by aid workers which included information in Arabic and English and a map of France.

A further 85 buses are expected to arrive on Tuesday and Wednesday, with officials saying the entire operation will last at least a week.

A demolition team is due to begin dismantling the squalid settlement on Tuesday but bulldozers are not expected to be brought in.

Meanwhile, France's ambassador to the UK has insisted her country will not tolerate another Jungle camp springing up in Calais.

Sylvie Bermann said the French government wants to show migrants that the port city is a "blind alley" which will not gain them access to Britain.

She told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "The government is determined to stop people coming back to Calais. We won't let them come. It has to be clear that Calais is a blind alley, and you can't come to this country. If they are refugees they will go to other centres.

"We will leave policemen there for the time being. There are more than 2,000 policemen there."

As French authorities continued to dismantle and empty the squalid camp, the ambassador insisted that Britain had been asked to take all the unaccompanied children from the Jungle settlement.

Ms Bermann said 600 children are now in special centres in Calais waiting to be processed.

"What we asked the British Government is to take all unaccompanied children, and they said they want to process the cases and check if they have families here. It's impossible for the French to know if they really have families in the UK. So we gave the list to the UK Government and now they will have to process," she said.

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